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St. Peterline ferry from Helsinki to St. Petersburg

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Hello all,

I am considering taking a side trip from Helsinki to St. Petersburg on St. Peterline, which is an overnight ferry / "cruise". You get the day to see St. Petersburg, then return overnight to Helsinki. The company advertises that the visit to Russia is visa-free because it is less than 72 hours and you are visiting via a "cruise". Apparently, this is a new twist to the Russian visa laws (I think only since 2010).

Here is the link to the company:

My questions are:

-- Has anyone taken this trip? What is the border like on the Russian side? Do you have to clear customs? Did you have any trouble being "visa-free"? How long were the lines exiting the port / re-entering the port? What time did you have to be back on the boat? Was the boat on time?

-- Did you have any troubles finding the right bus to get back to the port?

Thanks, all!

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